August 16, 2018
School & Youth
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SPHS Graduate And Hospice Volunteer Donates Graduation Money To Teen Grief Program

Jane Seiss
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August 7, 2018

This summer, SPHS graduate Elise Fonseca donated $750 of her graduation money to Camp Phoenix Rising at Hospice of the Chesapeake. She volunteered at the Pasadena hospice and palliative care facility and gave the monetary gift because she felt it was the right thing to do. The camp offers support, community and comfort to teens who have lost loved ones.

“My mom got me involved with the hospice when I was a freshman,” Fonseca recalled of her original connection to Hospice of the Chesapeake. She worked in the back of the Chesapeake Treasures store, preparing donated items for the shop floor. Proceeds from sales at the store (now closed) benefited Hospice of the Chesapeake. “I really liked it there. I made friends,” Fonseca said.

After a while, Fonseca joined the threshold choir at the hospice campus. She and other volunteers met in a meeting room there once a week to practice. The group of six or seven singers, including Fonseca’s mom, sang hymns to patients.

By the time she was a senior in high school, it was natural that Fonseca would take on a communications internship at the hospice.

“While serving during the 2017-2018 school year as a communications intern, Elise took photos, helped in many administrative ways, and created videos for our website and social media,” said Elyzabeth Marcussen, Hospice of the Chesapeake communications specialist for media and Fonseca’s supervisor.

Fonseca worked at Hospice a few times per week, attended special events and put in 60 to 70 hours of time at her internship during both semesters of her senior year. “I learned so much from my boss,” Fonseca admitted. “It was a really great job. I went to a lot of meetings and saw how the different parts of hospice worked together — especially for huge events. It was a really good experience for me.”

Feeling fortunate and privileged, Fonseca felt that making a donation of her graduation money was the right thing to do. “I feel very lucky and privileged, and it felt like something good to do,” Fonseca said. “I wanted to give back. It feels good to help. I feel like this is something everyone should do.”

The $750 she donated will be put to good use. According to Marcussen, $500 covers the cost for one camper to attend the grief camp. The other funds from Fonseca can pay for creative materials and art supplies for one of the Phoenix Rising teen grief support meetings. “It’s incredibly generous and we’re honored she chose to spend her money in such an admirable way,” Marcussen said of Fonseca’s donation. “When she told me she was donating her graduation money to the Chesapeake Life Center’s grief camps, of course I was proud. But I wasn’t at all surprised.”

Fonseca will attend Susquehanna University in the fall. She plans to major in business and minor in film studies. “I like to write screenplays. It’s a good creative outlet for me,” Fonseca explained. “I really want to get into the film industry. Business is broad, and there will be a lot of things that I can branch off to from there. I’m going to see where it takes me.” While at college, Fonseca hopes to play club rugby and she will sing in the chorus.

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